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Sleepy Hollow

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Mark Pickering, Lisa Marie, Jeffrey Jones and a quicky by both Martin Landau & Christopher Lee
Directed By: Tim Burton

 

By now you've heard the buzz....the plot isn't so hot. If you like the genre of horror go see this.Your not really expecting Life Is Beautiful are you? Sleepy Hollow is still yet another fine fairy tale by the 'King of Tilt' Tim Burton. Can I just say it again? Horror movies are made up the following plot points:

1. Good guy/hero

2. Bad guy/evil dead

3. Wench/heroine (usually well endowed in the chestal area.)

4. Doubting townsfolk/family/spouses (these are interchangeable so long as no one believes good guy/hero at any given point- these folk are also the 'victim pool')

4. A couple mandatory murders

5. Bit of gore

8. Love affair or wild monkey sex 'tween the good guy/hero & wench/heroine

9. Hints that'll point you to the wrong villain

10. Hints point you to another wrong villain

11. Truth is discovered (usually a speech by good guy/hero is performed, so the slower members of the audience who didn't get it---get it)

12. Good guy/hero wench/heroine live happily ever after.

13. Bad guy/evil guy 's finger, eye, head-- something pops up on screen, leading you to believe he may just still be alive (= if it makes money they can make a sequel)

Generic formula for Horror movie 101. So. It's fun right? I haven't been this excited about getting to a movie since I heard Kevin Spacey was gonna be butt ass naked in American Beauty, and that was for wholly different reasons. In this tale of semi-terror, you get to add to this simple equation one tall odd chap with a knack for twisting a tale into a macabre little yarn, Mr. Tim Burton. To watch him splash his canvas with dark, nearly surreal, coloring is always a special treat sensation.

Then Timmy gets a few of the richest soulfull 'eyes' Hollywood' s got. Inserts a special effect here, a clever word or two there and you get a Tim Burton Film. Mediocre plot or not...this is not an ordinary run of the mill day at the chop shop!

I find Tim Burton a filmatic genius. He plays with reality the way a movie should, but adds just a bit of maniacal madness. He 'creates' these three dimensional characters from the writer's script that simply leap out at you. Each one a separate work of twisted art. Then the way he and his crew 'paint' all over one of these celluloid pieces, with a whimsical light hearted darkness that, at least puts this viewer in perpetual awe. I find him unique and gifted;a kind of Hans Christian Andersen on acid.

Washington Irving (original author of Sleepy classic) is probably reeling in his grave right about now, with the changes Burton and gang have made to his story. Only the knuckley spine of his 'legend' is here. Let's face it, Washington's Sleepy has been done, it simply had to be "revamped" if they wanted the Playstation-InSync-body pierced-Mini-Me generationites to even fathom a ticket purchase. A Hollywood absolutism-at least Burton lets say lovingly redesigned it.

Example of change? Well, Ichabod Crane who we all know from the animated Disney version, as that crickety-old-spider-legged-malebitch with a nerves of liquid goo, is now a young neurotic pretty boy with a passion for forensics. Burton cast his Tracy, his Hanks, his DeNiro...little cutie boo Johnny Depp.

Johnny's Ichabod is asked to use his "on the edge" crime fighting style and fancy fandaggled gizmos to assist a little sleepy hollow north of New York City to catch a nut case that's lobbing off fine citizen's heads left and right.

He arrives and immediately suspects a conspiracy a foot, a head and a horseman. As he is a man of science he does not believe the townsfolks' tale of the evil headless horseman who rides like an evil apparition claiming a head off one toensman per evening.

That is until Ichabod nearly pees his pantaloons as he himself comes face to neck cavity with the long deceased villain.

The villain is a Hessian warrior, that rather enjoyed all his pillaging and slaughtering till the descendants of Sleepy Hollow chopped his head off and threw him in his lonely grave twenty years ago...now it seems, he has a straw like hair across his ass for revenge.

Hessy the Horseman is played by a nearly translusent Christopher Walken. Chris is peculiar without the pointy teeth his character sports, now he's plain old 'Star of your nightmares' creepy. Hmm, odd as he is, I just love this guy! When I am blue I pop in a really bad movie called Homeboy just for his musical number in the middle. Then suddenly the blues go away and birds tweet again...

Christina Ricci is just beautiful, as white witch and stealer of men's um...hearts, Katrina Van Tassel. Darkness and grays become her. Ricci's big soulful eyes when paired up with Depp's deep soulful eyes are like two soulful eyed people in a scene being extremely soulful. Just wonderful.

Miranda Richardson, from the Black Adder series (and tons of other things) is Ricci's Stepmother, Lady Van Tassel. Jeffrey Jones from Beetlejuice is a great weasely wimp, Reverend Steenwyck . Plus numerous others who really are just perfectly cast and orchestrated.

Burton and top-notch director of photography, Emmanual Lubeski, went for an old fashioned almost black and white feel in Sleepy. When the blood flows in crimson it's wonderfully cheesy, with just a hint of B. Like the old Hammer Films -a personal fave. If you have never seen a Hammer you must find one. They usually starred Christopher Lee (who has an honorary appearance in Sleepy), Christopher Plummer (wonderful Amanda's daddy) and Peter Cushing . They had a budget of about 2000.00 per film and were some of the neatest horror films produced out of England. Lot's of vampires and big breasted wenches, in a seedy little town where everyone seems guilty of well, something.

PS Francis Ford Coppola helped produce. Did you know he's cheezy horror movie writer/director from long ago? Ever hear of Dementia 13 (1962) ? That's Mr. Coppola. Just plain bizarre. Also, check out this Hammer site...they are so kitchy-kool babe! The Hammer Grave Yard.

Snack Recommendation: Pumpkin Pie with hot upstate cider.

 

 

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